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Reception on Verizon Phones in Northern Michigan?

by MyFeetHurt / September 15, 2004 7:31 AM PDT

I travel a lot to areas the cell phone people consider remote. I currently have AT&T, but their prices are insane and reception is often not good.

Verizon is the only company whose coverage and rates make any sense. I want to buy the phone with the best possible reception. From what I've found surfing around the Motorola phones are a BAD choice. Verizon choices are Kyocera KX414, LGVX3200, Nokia 3589i, Samsung SCH-a650 (and some very expensive phones with features I don't need).

Can anyone give advice? Appearance, ease of use, features, etc. are all nice, but definately secondary.

The only other feature I care about is durability, as I know already that I will drop it. A lot.

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Re: Reception on Verizon Phones in Northern Michigan?
by dave1973 / September 15, 2004 11:44 AM PDT

I have the Samsung SCH-a650 and the phone works rather well when I'm on Verizon's network, though I haven't tested it on Verizon's network in Michigan. I however tested it on Alltel's network over Labor Day weekend and I had the same problems I had with my old Motorola 120c, lots of dropped calls and the phone bouncing from digital to analog and back, though not as much this year as a year ago. The Indiana/Michigan state line is still analog on Alltel's network since my phone went into analog for about a mile or 2 into Michigan on I-94. if I ever get a chance to visit Holland or Grand Rapids, I'll be sure to give it a try, but while on Alltel's network, expect the phone to switch between analog and digital (if you get a tri-mode phone) and possibly dropped calls. Alltel doesn't have most of their towers close enough to the highway to have decent reception like Verizon does in northern Indiana, Chicago and nearby suburbs, and the Milwaukee and Madison Wisconsin markets. So if you have to travel in Alltel's territory, you should expect to experience what I experienced.

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Re: Reception on Verizon Phones in Northern Michigan?
by dee/p / September 16, 2004 1:03 AM PDT

saw what you posted for the alltel network in in/mich line, I am there alot, have been talking to you about wy and in service, alltel is also the provider in arkansas, so the new samsung still had dropped calls, is alltel not a good network?

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Re: Reception on Verizon Phones in Northern Michigan?
by dave1973 / September 16, 2004 3:22 AM PDT

Alltel isn't as great, at least in Michigan because they haven't invested enough money to cover their areas well. According to what a Verizon Wireless representative told me; Alltel doesn't have the resources like Verizon does to cover their areas well. Also a number of Alltels' markets are still on analog. They did spend more money in Michigan to comply with the E911 service in Michigan, which was why I did get more areas with a digital signal. It's possible the terrain in that area could be a factor, but the towers that Alltel tend to be on, at least along I-94 and I-196 are away from the highway, except for maybe one or 2.
As with any service, there will always be areas that one service doesn't cover well. So far I only come across a couple of rural areas of Indiana on Verizon's network that's spotty. I have yet to check Verizon's network in Michigan to get an idea how well it is.
to be specific on my Samsung SCH-a650 flip phone's usage in Michigan, it doens't handle Alltel's spotty network well. As for Lowell Indiana where I work, this phone will work in the parking lot of where I work, but only works in select locations in the building as Verizon's coverage in Lowell is spotty on the west side of town. If you want to e-mail me further, you can reach me at davelxxiii (at) excite (dot) com. Just replace the at and dot with the appropriate symbols.

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Re: Reception on Verizon Phones in Northern Michigan?
by MyFeetHurt / September 16, 2004 4:43 AM PDT

If Alltel can't handle the I-94 corridor, they sure won't handle Waters, Michigan (which is on northern I-75, actually).

Coverage up there is very sparse...some of the towers are Cellular One (which is on the Verizon network), some belong to "American Towers" and a few are AllTel. American Towers leases its coverage and it's unclear who leases them, and one belongs to the Upper Peninsula Telephone Company, a company that doesn't offer wireless phones so far as I can tell.

Alltel, AT&T and Verizon are the only companies that claim to have service up there. AT&T is expensive. I also need the phone to work in other parts of Michigan, Canada, and Indiana, so that kind of rules out Alltel.

I think I will start with the Nokia 3589i, which is a ugly phone that has been praised for it's reception, and possibly exchange it for a LG VX3200.

Thanks all.

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Re: Reception on Verizon Phones in Northern Michigan?
by dave1973 / September 16, 2004 11:49 AM PDT

Verizon has service mainly in the Grand Rapids, Lansing/Flint, Ann Arbor, and Detroit markets. There are other areas I might not be aware of, but much of Verizon's network is mainly derived from the old Ameritech Cellular service. I don't know about the old Primeco service, if Primeco ever served Michigan before Verizon acquired them. A Verizon Wireless representative at a Merrillville Indiana store told me the company wants to expand in Michigan and Wisconsin, but the FCC won't allow them to expand their territories at this time, saying that the FCC only allows a wireless carrier to cover a certain percentage of the country. Michigan and Wisconsin are areas they want to expand because they have customers in areas that are served by Alltel signing up for Verizon Wireless service for the nearest Verizon market. In the case of any around Douglas/Saugatuck, they're going up to Grand Rapids and Holland and for those around the state line near Indiana, they're signing up for Verizon service for the South Bend Indiana market. That's why Verizon wants to provide service to areas they don't already cover.
I can tell you that if you were to sign up for Alltel service, you would need nationwide in order to roam on Verizon's netowrk at no charge as Verizon and Alltel have roaming agreements worked out on each other's networks. And Alltel is the only CMDA carrier that currently serves the upper penninsula of Michigan and Wisconsin based Einstein is the only GSM carrier to my knowledge that serves upper Michigan, but you have to live in their service territory in order to get their service. So Einstein is out. Alltel is out if you live around Holland, Grand Rapids, Flint, Lansing, Ann Arbor, and Detroit areas since Alltel doesn't serve most or any part of those areas. And you mentioned Cellular One, Cellular One is now Cingular and they have sparse coverage in Michigan as well. Even T-Mobile has sparse coverage, and T-Mobile mainly focuses around major cities. They could careless about rural areas except for major highways.

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Re: Reception on Verizon Phones in Northern Michigan?
by gawthspork / December 7, 2004 4:24 AM PST

I've used Verizon pretty regularly in both Houghton and Marquette, MI (the Upper Peninsula) over the past four months with very few problems.

Dropped calls are quite rare... I do get spotty service when I'm a little too far north--the Keweenaw Peninsula isn't really covered beyond Hancock and occasionally Calumet. The metro Marquette area is covered surprisingly well, though.

One minor annoyance is that I can't get a local number--I'm stuck using my number based out of Wyandotte, MI. I also have occasional problems with delayed voicemail notifications. Otherwise, Verizon seems to be a better option than our few local providers, although I'm not sure if I'd wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who doesn't intend to return to one of Verizon's home areas at some point.

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Re: Reception on Verizon Phones in Northern Michigan?
by dave1973 / December 7, 2004 10:30 AM PST

The upper penninsula is Alltel's territory, based on the map I saw for CDMA carriers, and Alltel is the only CDMA carrier that serves the upper penninsula. I could be wrong though as there might be carriers that I'm not aware of. The only GSM carrier I'm aware of in that area is Einstein PCS. I have yet to use my Verizon Wireless phone on Verizon's network in Michigan. I've only been on Alltel's network around Niles, Fennville, Saugatuck, South Haven and Benton Harbor and coverage tended to be spotty, even along I-94 and I-196. Until Verizon Wireless is allowed to serve more areas, don't expect to ever get Verizon Wireless service for that area. I wish Verizon Wireless covered more of Wisconsin, especially outside of the immediate Milwaukee metropolitan area.

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Re: Reception on Verizon Phones in Northern Michigan?
by MyFeetHurt / December 7, 2004 9:28 PM PST

Verizon DOES cover the UP, they just make it hard to get. They have some sort of arrangement with Alltel.

I went with Verizon and bought a LG VX3200 at the saleman's suggestion. I've been very happy with it. Note that I got the "National SingleRate," which covers the Upper Pennisula and all of Wisconsin, but is also much more expensive. I also added SingleRate Canada.

Verizon makes it pretty hard to even find the SingleRate stuff, and the salespeople will try to talk you out of it. But it is the only plan I found that even claims reasonable coverage in most of Michigan.

I haven't yet experimented much with walking around in the woods with the phone, but it's a huge improvment over AT&T, which barely worked in such "remote" spots as my Grandma's house (Marshall, Michigan).

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Reception on Verizon phones in Northern Michigan?
by elvwnk / December 26, 2004 8:30 AM PST

Gawthspork, why wouldn't you recommend Verizon to someone in northern Michigan if they didn't intend to return to Verizon's home areas? ("although I'm not sure if I'd wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who doesn't intend to return to one of Verizon's home areas at some point")

Are you encountering extra charges?


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